Friday, November 20, 2009

Belly Ache Bungalow

Pancreas Party Time!

Was feeling very sick after the "gastric emptying test". Called the doctor who performed the test, talked with his nurse to ask if I should feel so sick from the EUS or the GET. She couldn't give me any feedback, said first the doctor would need to review my records and THEN she could call me back, but it might be a few hours. In the meantime I just felt sicker and sicker. I called her back and said I was going to go to The Emergency Room or to Urgent Care and not to bother.

I went to the ER, figuring I would get my test results back faster. I then had to explain 3 times that my doctor's practice in Springfield referred me back to Dr. Gnome in St. Louis who then referred me to Dr. Hawkeye in Joplin. The puzzlement on their faces matched mine. They all asked why?? and I replied why indeed?? No answer from me to explain it, it just was.

My lipase was highly elevated again - over 1,000 which for some people can go higher - but that's pretty high for me. That explained the sick feeling, the nausea, and the pain that just won't go away. That was Tuesday afternoon. I got released today, Friday afternoon so a three day stay.

I was admitted to the hospital, and a very good hospitalist over my case, and was given many doses of dilaudid, zofran, and phenergan over the next few days. The first night I had a flare up of The Headache. I am getting used to this as part of the pancreatitis process. I vomit, the pain flares, I get nauseated, vomit again, the pain gets worse until I am so exhausted I can't even go "The Pain The Pain The Pain - bluh bleh blah blub buik" anymore.

This time I had a roommate who had a much worse pancreas condition than mine, and was highly medicated because she had extreme pain and extreme anxiety together. As I was in the head down over the emesis basin mode "I'm sooo sick bug burgh bluk erk" she came over to my bed and rubbed a alcohol swab on my nose, and asked if it was all better now. I told her "No sweetie, go back to your bed and get better" and then started the "buh buck eeeyck hack" back in the basin. I was in so much pain I just bairly noticed nurses aides rushing in and escorting her back to her bed, poor girl. She was trying to help all she could even though she was in awful pain herself. She was so out of it on meds I don't think she remembered doing this.

After about an hour and a half of the moaning and vomiting from me the nurses listened and added phenergan to my mix (I hadn't had any for several hours) which helped calm the throwing up portion. I only had one more episode when they stated I could have some real food like jello and broth - I guess the anticipation sorta started the stomach upset up again! This time my room mate had been transferred to another hospital so I didn't get any alcohol swab on my nose to make it better. I did gain a very nice older lady as my roommate and it was her first goround with pancreatitis. She and her husband were married 58 hears and showed a restored Model A at various car shows, a very interesting lady!

The first night the night nurse came over and had a discusion about my occipital stimulator and migraines. She had 3-4 uncontrolled migraines per week, I said I couldn't see how anyone can work with that many. The next night a different nurse was over my section, and a different person was moaning "I'm so sick" and I heard one nurse say to another - that's room 7xx (my room) she was like that last night, so I stuck my tongue out at them as they marched by. Got a lot better service than the usual 1.5 hour wait from the time you hit the nurse bell until they show up after that, guess they got caught talking out of turn!

The Belly pain has never really stopped for some months now, and it is now pretty severe. The dilaudid just barely controlled it. I'm finally home tonight, off all pain meds for about a day and have eaten some things today. I told the hospital that I was all better (my enzyme levels had fallen) but I just didn't report the pain remainder because there was no purpose to my staying there longer. The Belly just is not behaving properly.

The worst torture they put you through with pancreatitis is that you have to EAT a REAL hospital meal and keep it down before you leave. There are two things I find very difficult to do in a hospital (maybe in my mind they are related??) 1) eat cafeteria food or any food for that matter 2) have a bowel movement in a hospital room bathroom. These may be very strange quirks, but I know I have them - there is no controlling these. I have to just make myself eat that meal and gag it down. The food isn't that bad, its just ...well, wait a minute - the food IS that BAD, not fooling myself there. As to the hospital bathroom, I just have to wait until I get home if that is possible.

I verified with Dr. Gnomes office that I officially have chronic pancreatitis. There it is - a definite diagnosis of a not very good problem. The Occipital Stimulator study coordinator at the Cleveland Clinic called and wants to set a date for me to go back there. I really don't feel well enough to travel, so I will call next Tuesday (when she should be in) and see what we can arrange. The Headache is much better but The Belly is ruling the House of Pain at this moment.

Dr. Gnomes office is going to call back after they talk with Dr. Hawkeye about my gastric emptying test. I don't know if there is anything Dr. Gnome can do from his surgical box of tricks. I don't think there really is - just medicate the durn pancreas for pain and keep the enzymes going, but maybe there is something they can do that is a little less drastic than completely removing my pancreas.


  1. Sorry you had to stay in the hospital the last few days! :( Thanks for sharing the funny story about the alcohol swab making everything better - that's hilarious! It must be awkward having a roommie in a hospital, especially while throwing up. You could write a book with your experiences! :)Feel better!

  2. Thanks Heather!

    Strange things happen. I could insist on a private room, but there are very few in the hospital I stay at and are generally snatched up by persons with planned surgeries.

    It did make me very very thankful that although my physical health is not so good, I don't suffer from anxiety also. Her suffering from anxiety seemed to overwhelm her more than the physical pain. I'm generally not anxious, so I didn't realize how consuming it could be.